Tuesday, January 31, 2012

One of my favorite things about running the press, totally non-poetry related, is designing the cover art. Alot of times, the poet already has particular artwork or designers in mind, which works as well, and some of of our most gorgeous covers have come about this way. Other times, they have general ideas or feels that generate something. Usually, since my art skills are mostly limited to collage (I suck at drawing and am not much better with paints), I will try to find something simple that works well with the poems--vintage illustrations or photos, stock photography (ideally that doesn't look like stock photography), manipulated public domain images. Sometimes, just typographical elements.

In a couple of recent cases I've gotten to make specific peices of art for covers, which I love doing, including a collage for Becky Peterson's Art Deco Set Design Curtains Falling (as seen above, an initial collage that sparked an entire series I am now playing with) and Amanda Ackerman's Short Stones, both underway currently and due out shortly. While my design skills and software are pretty limited (no sustained access to photoshop and I'm a spaz w/ InDesign) it's always something I love doing, even if it's just adding text to artwork or choosing fonts and layout strategies.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

This week, I've been absorbed in putting the finishing touches on a new batch of chaps that we will be releasing in a flurry the next couple of weeks, things that have been on the burner since December and are just now making it into print. I always say I will eventually be caught up, but it never happens, so I won't jinx myself this time and just continue on (I think as soon as I think I am right on shedule, I get complacent and self-indulgent, and shit just doesn't get done.)

I have also vowed, even in the midst of chapbook mayhem and pre-AWP preparations, that I won't let my own stuff get pushed to the side, which I often do. (it's sort of a time thing, if I have 4 hours in which to work on press-related things a day and one hour to work on my own art or writing, that extra hour often gets eaten up by other fires that need to get put out.) It works, but after a while I start to get cagey and slightly resentful that I never seem to have enough time to work on my own stuff. The past two weeks, I've been pretty good at getting that hour (sometimes more) out of the way at the beginning of the day instead of the end of it, ie. writing first thing in the morning (as opposed to right before I go to bed), trying to spend my first hour at the studio devoted to something of mine. Already, I have managed to finish and submit the JF poems, almost finished the narrative projet, as well as all sorts of art-related things (like these nautial inspired collages still in progress, which I am hoping to combine with the fledgeling mermaid series maybe..)

I've been feeling a little more centered, calmer, and this seems to remove the temptation that often strikes to do nothing when faced with too much to do. ie, if I have three tasks in front of me that are pressing to get done, I find myself paralyzed at which to start with and overwhelmed and end up watching cat videos YouTube and looking at Facebook for two hours, during which I probably could have been well on the way to finishing all three.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I google, therefore I am...

In my search history on my work computer:

raspberry honey mustard
skateboard on skis
tunnel of oppression
suitcase on sand
WomanMade Gallery
vintage grammar textbook
chanel no 5 font
tempozoan harbour village
osaka ferris wheel
japanese ferriswheel
vintage ferriswheel
photo slide
vintage printables
theatre font
illuminated manuscripts
bible fish
megan kaminski bio
actresses who are 37
alanis morisette
how to make a book trailer
montrose beach skate park
hangman poetry
rose mcgowan plastic surgery
wingdings key
dance movies
principles of dance movies
keebler coconut dreams
japanese magnolia drawing
*ex-lover I occasionally internet stalk*
nancy drew
the devil inside
serpent and the rainbow
how they clean subway cars
2941 w belmont
stencil font
awp offsite readings
pride and prejudice and zombies
words on fabric
paper lanterns polaroid
evolution of teen movies
edna st vincent millay love life
loves baby soft
ensemble jourine
glossy inkjet paper
miniature doll parts
wooden mannequin small
artist figure mannequin
how to post from facebook to twitter
bee hive
fashion toy fabric
7x7 pre-cut mat
solidity vs. solidness
too realistic creepy (I was hunting for the word "uncanny")
bat silouette
spoonful magazine

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I actually manage to finish things. This little sucker has been on the burner for months during which I arranged and rearranged the layout, rewrote the acompanying text (three different soure texts collaged together) and battled printers, paper supplies, and all sorts of other impediments. *sigh* But it's done, and now available in the shop should you be interested in getting your hot little hands on one...

(this is just the first several little zine offerings that have been in the works, so watch for more in the next few weeks....)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

it's coming...

{click image for closer look}

Join us during AWP as we welcome you into our space in the historic Fine Arts Building (just 3 blocks north of the Hilton). This is a great chance to pick up the newest titles, have a look at our latest offerings, and see exactly what we do. Plus a huge roster of book signings by our authors throughout the afternoon, including Megan Fernandes, Sheila Squillante, Megan Kaminski, J.Hope Stein, Gina Abelkop, Jackie White, Kristen Eliason, and more TBA.


I tend to take alot of pics down at the studio of my workspace, but not so much my little work area at home, which was, before the studio space, the center of the action. I still keep my sewing and jewelry-making supplies there, as well as alot of the art materials, mostly since I try to stay up in the neighborhood on the weekends and not have to go all the way downtown. I call it "dgp north" (as opposed to "dgp south" which would be the library where I work on layouts when I'm stuck on the circ desk all night). It's definitely less chaotic than it used to be with shipping materials and half finished books all over. Since my good camera is down at the studio, though, I snapped a few phone shots and these were the least fuzzy. If you look on the table, you an see some things mid-stream, including those awesome little compartmentalized shadowboxes and some thriftstore frames I am cooking something up for.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Today I was awake early and down to the studio, mainly to direct my attention toward some visual art endeavors that needed wrapping up, mainly scanning and matting the fashiony series I finished over christmas break, printing the landscape/architecture zine (which I will unveil tomorrow), and playing around with plans for another one using the botanica automata collages. I am still working on the text portions, but it will most likely be a little packet of 6 x 6 prints with a little booklet in a glassine envelope. I like doing these, since it gives folks a rather inexpensive way to get ahold of the art (without having to buy an orginal or have somewhere to hang a print). There will be more, possibly a little accordian book for another project, and something for the fashiony ones. It's a fun diversion and since I am in bookmaking mode, they're pretty easy to cobble together.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Today, I went looking for something I suspected to be in my print journal from 1996 and was saddened to remember the 1995-96 volume was the one that was stolen in Mississippi (who steals a backpack in front of a church from kids on a Habitat for Humanity build?). I remember being devastated, not because I lost anything of financial value (I probably had 5 bucks in my wallet) but because I lost everything else: a sheaf of poems from the workshop I was in that spring, notes on my senior seminar paper on Paradise Lost, a couple good mix cassettes & my cheapo walkman, my favorite hairbrush, and most importantly the mead composition book that was nearly filled from a previous years journal writing. It's always felt like a gap in my memory. A hole in my life into which an an entire year vanished..

Truth be told, I have been documenting everything seriously since I was 19, first in those composition books, later in various blogs and online journals. Even before that, I'd been loosely keeping a diary sine I was 14 (mostly filled with bad poetry and rants about my friends, my mother, my grades, my body). I kept the paper versions up til around the summer of 2003 when I started my xanga journal, then remained there til I moved here to blogger in 2005. Every once in a while I try to compare the difference between those private journals and these public ones, and besides seething and occasional negativity (I was all about this in my 20's, thank god I've mellowed in my thirties)..the things I talk about and document are in a similar vein, things I've written, things I've read, dreamed about, saw. These days, I'm much less insecure, hopefully, than I was there (I hope.)

Regardless, they are a touchstone, something I refer to when I can't remember certain timelines, certain details (much in the way I use this blog and facebook now.) They aren't as accessible as the blog, but I keep them right next to my desk at home in the bottom of the wicker file cabinet next to me. If there was a fire, I would probably want to save them (of course, last month's false alarm had me scrambling and worrying about the cats, not belongings.) On one hand I would never want them destroyed. Sometimes, I hope they are destroyed at least before I die and someone else reads them.

Somewhere in my belongings (though I am hard pressed to remember where at the moment-possibly the trunk still in my parent's basement) I have a little pink journal that belonged to my paternal grandmother. There were actually two, one was in pieces, the other was still bound. I've since used the trashed one in art pieces, but the pink one remains intact, and it chronicles the day to day in list form mostly the things she ate for breakfast, the people who visited, store shopping trips. All very mundane, but in some ways fascinating, especially since she's the grandmother I only have flashes of before she died when I was six. The journal fell to my father along with photos, report cards, class pictures, and the other detritus of her life after my step-grandfather died years later. Her scribblings are pretty level headed, devoted only to fact, and not much to opinion or commentary and are therefore far less embarrassing than my own. Should I ever have grand children, I probably wouldn't want them reading my journals (which in some ways makes me wonder if she would mind me reading hers..lol..)

Regardless, and more on track, the details aren't there from that year of my life, only what's left in my memory, the journal missing, probably having been tossed along with the rest of the stuff in a trashcan in Starksville after the thief discovered there was only a wad of dollar bills and no credit cards in the wallet. Or worse, maybe he put on the headphones, rocked out to Tori Amos and 10,000 maniacs, and read the whole thing. Yikes.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I went to bed last night with one of those heavy headaches but woke up this morning with the title of a new (as yet unwritten) mss. in my head and a quiet, snow laden world. I am mostly drinking hot sweetened black tea, reading a little, and working on the last of the peices of the narrative project, which is taking shape more and more as I go. I feel like I am telling a story in layers, one layer placed over the next to make a whole. It feels good. It feels like there's a goal (rather than alot of projects that go on and on and never seem to end until I declare them finished in frustration.) Perhaps that is why there are ghosts of other projects in new ones. I am in the progress of pulling together blurbs for the Black Lawrence book and decided to take look again at the poems again last night. In a couple of places there are lines that echo things in beautiful, sinister. Maybe it just means that I am not that original, or maybe more that I don't always resolve things in one manuscript that I try to resolve in new ones. This is certainly true in the first two books.

Yesterday, I declared "book cover designpalooza" and, waiting out the snowstorm in the studio, pretty much over the course of the evening sussed out preliminary designs for all the chapbooks that are waiting in the wings (at least the ones I'll be designing, not including some that are being done by external designers/artists). As soon as I finished the layouts and they go to the authors I'll be doing another quickfire release to get them out in time for AWP. I have also started planning the open studio at which you'll be able to procure said titles and other lovelies.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Yesterday was a scratchy, unproductive day in which everything I tried to accomplish was botched in some way from the moment I got up until I finally surrendered to bed, tired of battling printers, MS Office, public transportation, my hair, and just about everything else. Today, was MUCH better. I even feel semi-productive. Not only did I get a lot of books out the door and make a dent in the library order, but I later managed to tidy up the JF poems and send them on their way out into the world for their maiden voyage. It wound up being just a slim little manusript, about 16 pages, but it might work well as a e-chap somewhere. In a month or so, I will probably have the narrative project under wraps and I'll start sending it out too. I've been hesitant to send either project's individual bits out on their own since so much depends on their working as a group. But there are other things in their infancy and/or percolating on the poetry burner, the houses / bees thing, a series of list poems, something else I'm not sure of yet. Maybe an erasure project I've been contemplating. The mermaid thing. So many things, so little time.

Monday, January 16, 2012

This has been one of those rare mythical beasts that only rolls around once or twice a year called the "three day weekend" in which, after putting a full day of work at the studio on Saturday, I mostly hid out in the apartment, sleeping in, cooking yummy mexican food, and watching the remaining seasons of Weeds on Netflix. There was a little bit of writing, some housework, some organization. Some laundry, some grocery shopping. Late last week, snowy hell finally arrived and with it, a dip in my mood, but things seem to be brightening up.

I've got another slate of books just about ready to release in the next week, titles by Laura Goldstein, Cindy Savett, and Megan Kaminski. There is also the landscape/architecture zine project I have been putting off printing far too long and polishing up the JF poems since I am thinking of submitting them somewhere as a group.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

For a limited time, all original collages in the shop are marked down up to 50 percent off including remaining pieces from both the "flight" series and the dictionary collages...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Today, the first real snow and a bit of romantic backpeddling for no reason other than that I fell asleep thinking about it and decided on the bus ride to work to tap my inner masochistic tendencies. Luckily, I came to my senses later in the day and saved myself some grief by deleting the messages I intended for someone. (a whole lot of grief, possibly years of grief given past experience). But it’s winter, it can be expected.

Meanwhile, I am tweaking chapbook layouts and beginning to get fully restocked for AWP, which is a mere 7 weeks away. Since I only keep copies of the most recent titles in stock, that means I need to make at least two copies of everything we’ve published that’s still available. We’ll be hosting a big open studio one of the afternoon/evenings of the conference since we aren’t having table this year (more details as these plans firm up.) There's is also my the chapbook panel Friday afternoon and I'll be reading for Sundress Publications on Thursday with other Sundress editor folks and Best of the Net anthology poets. On one hand, I'm sad we'll be missing the book fair (I just couldn't swing the $450 to get a spot and since we have so many books, sharing isn't an option.) On the other hand, it might be nice to actually get to take in some panels and readings for the first time in several years of attending the conference. I haven't really gotten a chance to do that since that first AWP back in 2004, which was a crazy whirl of information and ideas.

I also have a huge library order for most of the books we've published to get underway asap, so I’ll be making those as well (this is very awesome since not only is it an amazing library, but the money will not only allow me to get the new laser printer I have my eye on, but also should take care of funding the tarot project which has been sitting on the back burner.)

Saturday, January 07, 2012

We have been blessed this week with some amazingly mild and lovely weather and there have been dinners out with my favorite poetry people, an excellent reading for the First Friday series, and tonight a birthday party for a work friend downtown that involves both Mexican food and fine tequila, so I am keeping busy and distracted, which I so need during this normally bleak time of the year. Yesterday, I printed out both the JF project and the beautiful, sinister poems from the private blogs where they reside and it was comforting to see them tangibly on the page, evidence of the past few months of work. (or in the case of the latter, a couple years of work.) I've taken well to using the blogs for most of my projects. It's been recommended by a few other poets/writers I know and sometimes it almost tricks me into thinking of writing more like blogging and there is not so much pressure and everything is there together, plus I can link to other things I need to make note of, writing prompts, etc.

It was a little exhilarating last night to debut so much new work in front of audience and a pretty big one at that (and, a little unusual, so many people I don't know and don't know me). This is not surprising since I sadly don't get to many readings anymore, reading or listening. Every year I vow to change this, but somehow work and the press and a million other things get in the way schedule-wise. It feels good though when it happens, sharing work, especially the new stuff. I think for the first time in a while I could not wait to show them to someone. (I also don't submit enough anymore, but that's a whole other blog entry.)

Sunday, January 01, 2012

this friday

I am looking forward to next Friday night when I get to read with some of my favorite local poetry folks. It's a brand new venue for an old series (it was once at DvA Gallery, then later St. Pauls Cultural Center) so it should be exciting. I think I might read some new stuff from the narrative project, maybe with some JF poems thrown in. Rumor has it there might be a little impromptu collabaration as well.

(update: there will also be a free special issue cd recording of the last time the same group of us read together in late 2008...so get there early to snag one. )